|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
To begin by responding to your author's note, I think that the structure of this story makes a lot of sense. You maintained it steadily throughout the story, providing a snapshot of each character and ending with that repeated line, which reminded me of a song, one of those 1960s or 70s ballads that always manage to break one's heart with the suffering they contain. This structure also brought to mind a chorus of the dead - I imagined that the ghost of each character was reciting their own part, then disappearing into the background again.
And the story darkens with each character, which is very important. By including Remus's "second chance" at life with Tonks and Teddy, you include that ray of hope that doesn't exist for Sirius and Peter, who were never allowed complete redemption. Sirius was almost there in OotP, but Peter never even receives anything - he's shunted into darkness because of his... whatever it was. Mistake. Betrayal. We can never know. That is what's brilliant about the ending - we really don't know why Peter did what he did, how it happened, and what he thought about it all. JKR does provide that slight glimmer in DH, but it's so hardly there that it might as well not be. I can see him trying to take advantage of the situation, trying to make use of time, using the quick talking he'd learned from James and Sirius to talk his way around Voldemort, but he was never strong enough. None of the Marauders could have done it.
Lily's part is the most dreamy, as Romantic as a poem by Keats or Shelley, filled with nature and beauty. I thought it was James narrating that part, with Lily narrating the next because while he simultaneously idealizes her and points out her more humourous flaws, she points out his strange combination of lovable smiles and frustrating ways. This is the only part where the structure isn't as consistent because the last three parts about the other Marauders are focused solely on themselves - the voices of each section more closely suit the personality of that character, relating more intimate details of those characters than you include in the Lily and James sections, both of which are clearly distanced from that character. Your narrator provides no history, no personal touches - the characters are revealed from the outside only. At least with Lily's part, this could be set down to the frustrating nature of canon, which limits Lily's character to this idealized vision of femininity, difficult but still perfect. Yet your expansion of Remus and Peter's stories to include more history and psychological depth reveal that you're not afraid to push beyond canon. Work on the part about Lily and also consider doing the same with James. The language and phrases in those parts are lovely, but they need more of the character behind them to make the reader feel the tragedy of that "casualty of war" line. All I see now is that beauty has died in the first part, and the happiness has died in the second - I see the abstract, but not the particular, the person.
There is one far less significant aspect of this story on which you could improve, and that's the paragraphing in Peter's section. It's surprisingly distracting to read those very short paragraphs, and they lose their potency as a result. I suggest combining some of the paragraphs, leaving only those lines separate that contain the most emotional punch - you'll know which lines if you read it aloud because they'll end on a note of finality.
Your experiment with this story is very exciting, and I think that you did a fantastic job with the structure and style, putting together something that allows you to cover all of these characters in a refreshing, yet highly structured way. I hope that this review proves helpful to you. I'm very glad to have been able to read it, and it's wonderful to have another excuse to read one of your stories. :D
Author's Response: I'm so happy you could stop by ♥ your reviews are so awesome. I'm a bit scared to reply right now, because I want to make sense... I'm afraid I'll just be all puddley.
You know what I actually thought of while writing this? The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It's been a long time since I've seen it, so forgive me if some of this is incorrect. But throughout the play it's the stage manager narrating it. We never learn of his connection to it, he's sort of just this faceless thing pushing us along. Somewhere in the play, maybe in the third act, one of the main characters, Emily, revisits her life as ghost. That's what I thought of when I wrote this. Me being the stage manager and taking each character through their life to revisit certain parts of it. So it really made me happy that you sort of saw them as ghosts telling their parts before slipping back.
Something definitely felt off about the first two sections but I thought I just felt that way because I was trying a new style. But what you've pointed out makes so much sense. I want to keep Lily's section a bit more... romantic feeling, then the others, but now that I've read through it with your words in mind, I really want to edit it (and James's) to reflect who she was in a deeper sense, like the three boys. Thank you so much for pointing that out ♥ When I do edit it, I'll of course credit you in my AN for your help.
And the paragraphing! I can't believe I didn't realize how annoying that was. Thank you again.
I'm so relieved that you think my little experiment went well. That's such a huge compliment coming from you ♥ I'm excited to edit this piece up a bit and makes James and Lily's sections more... honest. That's the best word I can find for what they're lacking. They have the superficial things in there, like you said, but they're missing the sort of darker honestly that the other three had. No, there story isn't as tragic as the other three's. They got to die before they witnessed everything just crumble apart and best friends turning on best friends. But they definitely deserved more than just the glossing I gave them. Ahh, I'm sending you a big internet hug. Thank you ♥